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Published:August 19th, 2014 11:27 EST

Senior Stunned and Surprised by Stratospheric $315 Bill for Calling 911

By Robert Paul Reyes

"Lois Sarrel had a rude awakening in early May.

`I guess I was panicking a little bit because women don`t have the same symptoms as men for heart attack,` Sarrel said.


She dialed 911, and soon a team of North Shore emergency medical technicians were at her door. Her vitals were OK; so was the electrocardiogram. They told her she wasn`t having a heart attack.

`But we can take you to the hospital,` and I said, `Why would I go to the hospital if I don`t need to?` Sarrel said."


A week later, a $325 bill for her 911 call came in the mail, and she almost had a heart attack for real.

Medicare doesn`t pay for an ambulance when the patient isn`t transported to a hospital, because it considers the ambulance call medically unnecessary. "

This is a foolish and counterproductive policy because patients either make unnecessary trips to an emergency room to avoid a bill, or they decide not to call an ambulance when they are suffering from chest pains.

I strongly urge senior citizens who experience chest pains to call 911, if it turns out that you only have heartburn, don`t turn down a free ride to the hospital.

It`s a crazy world, and sometimes you just have to roll with the craziness.

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